Derek McInnes heaped praise on super sub Danny Armstrong before expressing his desire to keep the winger at Kilmarnock for the long term.
Armstrong found the net two minutes after coming off the bench to secure Killie’s 2-0 Scottish Gas Scottish Cup victory over Cove Rangers.
The 26-year-old is contracted at Rugby Park until the summer of 2025, but his impressive displays have caught the eye of a number of clubs, including cinch Premiership rivals Hearts.
“I’m keen to keep Danny around, I don’t know if he is,” said McInnes.
“Behind any season a team is doing well there are key individuals.
“Danny’s stats don’t lie, he’s a media darling, everyone loves him – he gets man of the match even when he’s bang average.
“His levels have been outstanding since coming into the team.
“He loves it here, he’s really settled here. Whether we can hang on to him beyond the summer, we’ll certainly try because he is a key player for us.”
After defeating Cove, Kilmarnock have progressed to the last eight of the Scottish Cup for the second successive season.
Last season the Rugby Park side exited the competition after losing to Inverness, and McInnes is focused on his team going further this term.
“Getting into the next round was the most important thing,” he added.
“I don’t care who we get in the draw. We had a tough draw on paper against Dundee in the previous round and a slightly kinder one here at home to a lower-league team.
“But you’d expect a really tough game against any side which has come this far in the competition.
“Our away form has been much better this season so we’re pleased to be involved, to be honest.”
Paul Hartley believes his Cove side’s inability to take their chances proved to be the difference as they lost out.
Rumarn Burrell passed up a gilt-edged opportunity to put the Toonsers ahead in the opening stages and they would pay the price when Marley Watkins opened the scoring before Armstrong added a second late on.
“It was a good chance, if he hits it either side it’s a goal,” he said.
“That’s what happens when you are playing against a good team, you’ve got to take your opportunities when they arrive.
“They certainly were clinical when they got their opportunities but I think credit to how we defended, how we played and tried to pass it.
“We played with two up front, not many teams will come to Kilmarnock and do that.”
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